Auburn’s Community Resource Center puts social services and community court under same roof

Intended to increase community access to valuable social services.

The Auburn Community Resource Center is promised to provide a variety of social services and to provide a space in which those services can work in conjunction with the city’s community court.

The community court is intended to divert non-violent offenders away from the traditional court system in the hopes that the community court can help address the underlying causes of low-level crime on an individual case-by-case basis.

Within the new community resource center at the old Sports Page tavern at 2802 Auburn Way North is the space for a robust collection of social services and nonprofits, including the food bank, housing and shelters, drug and alcohol addiction treatment and counseling, and professional development.

Having these services under the same roof as the community court provides an advantage for both the community court participants and the community as a whole.

City of Auburn spokesperson Kalyn Brady said the complex allows for community court participants to be referred to specific services and then be “literally” walked to those services for a “warm handoff.”

She said this process also allows for meaningful connections and relationships to be developed between community court participants, court staff and service providers.

Brady said often people who need these services are disadvantaged by lack of transportation, lack of mobility and even the absence of identification, which she said is often needed to “open the door” for people to access these services.

She said court orders for people to receive these services, and fines when they do not comply, can create a “vicious cycle” that only prevents people from getting the help they need.

The resource center is intended to remove those barriers and increase access to these valuable services within the entire community.

“Instead of leaving them to figure out a system that we can all agree is a little difficult to navigate,” Brady said, the resource center makes obtaining these services far more convenient.

Brady said the pandemic has put somewhat of a “damper” on the center’s initial rollout, and while the center currently has a robust set of service providers, they are looking to add more.